Those of you who have been following my blogs often would be aware of my ‘wanderer’s lifestyle these last few years – actually 4 years. The instability and being unable to plan of course hasn’t been easy (more on this in the next post). However, it has been a time of growth in the Lord and increasing joy… shifting priorities…
Due to lack of a permanent or perhaps long term accommodation and given overseas travels too, I had been storing my stuff (crockery and cooking utensils esp given my hospitality ministries of the past) at various places – some from 2010. My involvements have been varied – different social groups and economic statuses and cultural backgrounds. Hence my belongings reflect on this too.. Last week through the lady I’m staying with (aka aunty) I heard of a friend in need of saris as she has started to take devotions at a couple of primary schools. I told aunty that I could part with the remaining casual saris as at this time I have no need for them and I know if the need arises, God will bless me later. However, they were in storage. So aunty (bless her heart) asked me to gather the scattered stuff and sort it out here. Since my next steps are still unclear (I can’t help but feel there may be a change in location), she told me that I could store the things I want to keep here.
I have to admit I was dreading it.. having an injured spine and also allergic reactions to dust and mildew etc… However, I knew it had to be done and as I have accumulated other stuff over the last few years, I knew I would have much to give away to those who could benefit from it. I thank God for sending me able people to help with the lifting and I thank God for the friends who stored it who also helped in various ways.
I’m still sorting out the things amidst much sneezing and washing / airing out clothes to get rid of the dusty smell. Some of the boxes and some of the stuff have perished and I had much to throw. I was a bit sad as some stuff has much sentimental value – including magazines for which I wrote articles, photographs etc. As I was throwing things out, I was just reflecting on what Jesus told the disciples when He sent them out…
Freely you have received, freely give. Do not take along any gold or silver or copper in your belts; take no bag for the journey, or extra tunic, or sandals or a staff; for the worker is worth his keep. “Whatever town or village you enter, search for some worthy person there and stay at his house until you leave. – Matthew 10:8-11
Meditate on those verses carefully!!!
- Was this a command or an option?
- Does this apply to you today too? Who were the recipients of this command?
- Are we able to do this? Not even take an extra tunic trusting that God will provide?
- And on the other hand, are we able to be a “worthy person” who does a true fasting and gives shelter to the wanderer (Isaiah 58)?
This is not some supreme being that Jesus sent out… They were His disciples – just like you and me… Jesus didn’t keep them with Him always but rather He sent them out to the people. He didn’t ask them to ask people to come to them but rather He modelled the way by going to the people. Have we taken the easy way out because we have learnt to depend on ourselves and give priority to what we want or we think we need?
However, as I was reflecting on these verses while throwing out the stuff that had perished in the process of me ‘storing’ – I couldn’t help question whether God was ‘punishing’ me for my lack of faith as when I stored it I was thinking that I was being wise keeping the stuff for when I get a house to myself again for ministry. This verse was really challenging me.
When I began to sort out my clothes, I couldn’t help but grin as the condition of some of the clothes was really bad. As I had been learning to trust God and live by faith, I had been very stingy in spending on myself. Clothes (along with skin care and toiletries) had taken a back seat as ‘I have to manage with what i have”. Having had to keep things in storage resulted in me having to acquire new clothes over these last few years. God obviously wanted to bless me through the lesson He was teaching.
What we count as “loss” could actually be a “blessing in disguise”. It all boils down to our perspective. All losses (whether relationships or material losses or even careers) are God’s way of drawing us closer to Him, to learn to reshuffle our thoughts and align them with His ways.. We have become a people of pride, wanting to “do our best” and only lean on Him when we are stuck. That is not God’s way… His way is simply heeding His voice and following His leading in the way He has particularly ordained for you. The ways of the world are quite different from the ways of God.
Who do you represent today? Have you blended in with the world
or are you making a stand as a result of your love for God?